On Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 10am PST (1pm EST) West Coast Environmental Law will be hosting the first ever Twitter Moot Court. The event takes the tried-and-true law school practice of mooting and flips it on its head by conducting it via social media. It’s an exciting innovation that will help interested parties explore how traditional legal arguments are translated into modern technology environments.
Presenting a legal argument in “tweets” that consist of no more than 140 characters is certainly going to be a challenge. However, Skunkworks is proud to be sponsoring two students, Matthew Nefstead and Jenn Cameron, from the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria (alma mater to two of us here at Skunkworks).
In total, 5 Canadian law schools have entered teams into what promises to be a fascinating experiment in legal academics. The other schools participating include Dalhousie University, University of Ottawa, UBC, and The Osgoode School of Law. Each tweeting team has its own page here. The judging panel is a an interesting mashup of talent itself, and includes University of Calgary law professor Kathleen Mahoney, lawyer-turned-novelist William Deverell and legal social media wunderkind Omar Ha-Redeye.
The case that the tweeters plan on mooting is the landmark environmental decision West Moberly First Nations v. British Columbia – a precedent-setting decision that confirmed the government of British Columbia has an obligation to protect First Nation treaty rights from incremental intrusions into the habitats of at-risk-species.
In the actual case, the BC Supreme Court found that the BC government had not sufficiently consulted West Moberly First Nations on how to adequately protect the Burnt Pine Caribou Herd prior to issuing mining permits to First Coal Corporation. It was decided that Crown also failed to put in place an active plan to accommodate for the protection and rehabilitation of the Caribou Herd. As a result, the BC Court of Appeal suspended First Coal Corporation’s mining permits.
It’s important to note, that you don’t need to be a member of the Twitter community to watch the latest crop of digitally savvy law students make social media and legal history. You can follow along through the “twitter feed” embedded at http://wcel.org/live-twitter-moot-feed.
Best of luck to all participants!